Armenians in Sweden

Today, the Armenian population in Sweden averages about 8000, most of whom center around Stockholm and Uppsala. The main influx was within the 20th century from Lebanon, Syria, Iran and Catholics from Poland. Lately, there has been a number immigrating from Armenia as well. However, Most are under the jurisdiction of the Holy See of Echmiadzin. There is the Armenian Apostolic Church Council and church in Botkyrka, Stockholm. There is also the Arevik Church Youth affiliate organization working alongside the church.

According to the Swedish legends dating back to the 10th century, a navigator by the name of Petrus was so enchanted by the beauty of an Armenian princess that he traveled to Armenia to marry her.

Traces of Armenian influence are seen in many Swedish literary works, especially from the Middle Ages.

Official Armenian presence in Sweden started with a group of Armenians from Turkey accompanying Swedish King Karl XII back to Sweden in 1714. They stayed on and integrated into the Swedish society over the years.

Many Armenians were employed by the Swedish Embassy in Ottoman Turkey. Among these were Hagop Tchamichoglu (Tchamichian) in the early 18th century and Hovhannes Mouradgian who held a key position as interpreter in the mid 18th century. Over the years, the Mouradgian family became closely associated with Swedish diplomatic life in the Ottoman Empire. Ignatius Mouradgea d’Ohsson and Abraham Constantin d’Ohsson are mentioned often by Swedish historians.

Another Armenian, Abraham Constantin, served in the Swedish diplomatic corps and at various times was posted in Spain, Holland and Germany. He died in Berlin in 1851. Abraham completed his education at Uppsala University, studying Swedish literature, history, mythology and culture. He worked closely with famous Swedish scientist John Berzelius, and became an honorary member of the Scientific Union of Uppsala in recognition of his research in chemistry.

Jean Anastatsi, an Armenian merchant from Damascus, served as Swedish Consul General in Egypt from 1828 to 1857. Paul Serphino (Serafian) held a similarly important post at the Swedish Embassy in Constantinople.

Ohan Demirjian, the son of Stepan Bey Demirjian who served as the Foreign Minister of Egypt from 1844–1853 and was instrumental in the opening of the Suez Canal, established close ties with the Swedish royal family. Demirjian, who settled in Sweden and was granted citizenship in 1867, is well known in Swedish academic circles as the author of two books on the commercial relations and contacts between European countries of the era and the Orient. Demirjian also built a small chapel on the outskirts of Stockholm. The building still stands and architects familiar with Armenian church structures say its interior style, especially its arches and altar-like section, are very close to that seen in Armenian churches worldwide.

On March 11, 2010, the Swedish government recognized the Armenian Genocide, alongside that of the Assyrians, Chaldeans and Pontic Greeks. It had struck down bills of recognition twice before, but this time surprised Turkey, who promptly called back its ambassador.


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